For centuries, whole grains (straight from the stalk of the plant) were an integral part of our diet until mills began to surface. Milling takes away the bran and germ from the grain, robbing it of its nutritious content. Although removing the bran and germ increases the shelf life of the product and makes it easier to digest, the consumers are deprived of the numerous health benefits that whole grain offers. There are two reasons why it took so much time for us to embrace this healthy lifestyle change. One our understanding of what comprises ‘whole grain’ was incomplete. Two we were wary of the unpalatable and unimpressive nature of these healthy foods.
Grains that are unrefined, with intact germ and bran, are referred to as whole grains. These are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and other important nutrients.
What are the benefits of whole grains?
- Whole grains aids in slow digestion of food and thus regulates the levels of sugar in the blood. Studies show that including whole grains in the diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, one of the most common conditions.
- Unrefined grains in the diet help to control the body weight. Those who have one or two servings of whole grains have a lower body mass index (BMI) when compared to those who do not have whole grains. It is also found to be helpful in preventing weight gain in women who included a lot of whole grains in their diet.
- Studies show that whole grains reduce the chances of developing metabolic syndrome.
- Diet containing whole grain reduces the risk of heart diseases by nearly 30%, that too by just having one serving per day.
- Whole grains along with low fat diet helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in blood.
- Along with the reduction in bad cholesterol levels, whole grains are also helpful in reducing blood pressure.
- Studies show that diet containing whole grains is associated with reduced risk of stroke.
- They reduce the risk of several types of cancers including stomach, colon, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx.
- Grains that are unrefined, with intact germ and bran, are referred to as whole grains.